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Posts from — July 2012

Urban Agriculture in Leeds, UK

Part 7 of Helen Eva Babbs’ series for Kitchen Garden about urban agriculture

By Helen Eva Babbs
Kitchen Garden
July 28, 2012


Also on the outskirts of the city, Bardon Grange was once a manor house and is now a university hall of residence. Here another vegetable garden sits inside old walls. Students often have a bad reputation when it comes to food, but the University of Leeds’ community growing project here proves that some can get very excited about salad.

“There was lots of interest from students but it was clear that they wanted training and support, not just to be let loose with some land” explains Lizzie Fellows, project coordinator. “We run a few formal workshops a year, plus weekly informal gardening sessions, and we have a paid grower who works two days a week.”

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July 31, 2012   1 Comment

Edible Landscaping and Vegetable Gardens ideas from the 2012 Chicago Flower and Garden Show

Show Garden #5 – The Let’s Move White House Kitchen Garden

By John Collier

John from Growing-Your-Greens goes on a field trip to the 2012 Chicago Flower and Garden Show. In this episode, you will see some of John’s favorite display gardens that have to do with edible landscaping and vegetable gardening at home.

More from Growing-Your-Greens here.

July 31, 2012   Comments Off on Edible Landscaping and Vegetable Gardens ideas from the 2012 Chicago Flower and Garden Show

Seattle Sustainable Urban Farming Startup Keeps it ‘Hyperlocal’, Growing Food on Rooftops

Competing against 101 other teams, UrbanHarvest won the $25,000 grand prize and $2,000 for the Best Clean-Tech Idea

By Missy Smith
July 30, 2012


Among the businesses and institutions UrbanHarvest is in ongoing discussions with are Microsoft and the University of Washington. “We do not have signed deals in place yet,” he says. “But hopefully those will come soon.” A partnership with Microsoft would mean that the corporation would no longer have to receive its produce from a supplier in California, which is 12-hour drive away from its headquarters. Instead, the computer software company would source its food directly from its rooftop.

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July 31, 2012   1 Comment

Farming in the city interviews with Hannah Kullberg of Better Bean and Tim Donovan of Project Grow

Go to minute 34:26 in the above video for urban farming segment.

Interview about urban farming in the Pacific Northwest

By Bruce Broussard
Oregon Voters Digest
The program that brings forward the social and political issues that are important to people living here in the Pacific Northwest.

Excerpt about North Portland Farm:

The North Portland Farm of Project Grow is a .75 acre (1.5 acres beginning Summer ’11) urban farm. The North Portland Farm runs a bike-delivered CSA, raises chickens and ducks for eggs, goats for fiber, vegetable starts for sale and for the farm, provides community garden space for rent, hosts workshops, and participates actively in the small/urban farm community in the area.

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July 30, 2012   Comments Off on Farming in the city interviews with Hannah Kullberg of Better Bean and Tim Donovan of Project Grow

Church, social service foster urban farming in Des Moines, Iowa

See video of the gardens on KCCI here.

Program helps refugees become more self-sufficient through selling extra produce.

By Lisa Lavia Ryan
Des Moines Register
July 26, 2012


A university grant and a lot of sweat equity on the part of Lutheran Services in Iowa and Des Moines’ Plymouth Congregational Church have helped more than 100 refugee families feel more at home by cultivating garden plots to call their own.

For some, the gardens are an important income supplement that enables them to sell the food they grow and harvest.

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July 30, 2012   Comments Off on Church, social service foster urban farming in Des Moines, Iowa

Organic Farming in Urban China: Reflections from a Study Tour

Little Donkey Farm.

There are also plots here for people to rent and grow their own

By Stephen Couling
Post Growth
22nd July 2012


Signs of a healthier, cleaner and greener China are around us. We are walking, one morning, from the bus stop some way north of the Summer Palace in Beijing to visit Little Donkey Farm, a 15 Hectare organic, open-field operation set up in 2008 in Houshajian West Village in the Haidian District in north-west Beijing. Here is Beijing’s first-ever Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme. It also had partnerships with the Haidian District Agriculture and Forestry Ministry and the Renmin University School of Agricultural, Economics and Rural Reconstruction Department. The stated mission here is “to include agriculture in the tertiary industry of culture and heritage through mobilising not just farmers, but citizens, NGOs, and governments to join the sustainable agricultural movement.”

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July 29, 2012   1 Comment

Business Models Behind Urban Farming

New York Times ‘Business Day Live’ video

An abundance of unused space combined with a large demand for locally grown produce point to a potential for profits for intrepid city farmers. Business Day Live explores the business models behind urban farming.

July 29, 2012   Comments Off on Business Models Behind Urban Farming

Fava Bean Humous

Maria shows us her fava beans.

Harvesting fava beans in July at Vancouver’s Compost Garden

Maria grew two varieties of fava beans this year, Exhibition Longpod Fava and Purple Fava, both from Salt Spring Seeds. She is harvesting the beans right now at the end of July and has prepared a delicious humous.

Her recipe ingredients include fava beans, tahini, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper, all blended with a hand blender.

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July 28, 2012   Comments Off on Fava Bean Humous

Urban Farming is an Urban Myth – Commentary

The cost of such gardens (roof food gardens) runs at $270 a square foot or over $11 million per acre, which is about 3,000 times more expensive than some of the very best prime farmland.

By Maurice Hladik
Ag Professional
July 27, 2012
Maurice Hladik is author of Demystifying Food from Farm to Fork. He grew up on a farm in western Canada and was an active farmer into his early adult years. He earned two degrees in agricultural economics, served as an agricultural diplomat in several countries and also worked for an international agricultural company.


Then there is the question, ‘where are all those urban dwellers with the skills and the inclination to seriously grow food?’ I maintain there has been plenty of hype and encouragement in recent years for city folk to get out and grow food. It would be surprising if there is a latent population of closet gardeners who might spontaneously become active and tear up their lawns and make a go with veggies or fruit trees. It is doubtful if even this one percent of potential urban land resource could ever be utilized, given the lack of enthusiastic and capable gardeners. However, it should be noted that in developing countries food security issues, land use patterns, the presence of recent migrants with farming skills and household labor ability are quite different than in North America and, in such an environment, significant quantities of food are produced in urban settings.

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July 28, 2012   3 Comments

Food Bank Garden Patch: Urban Agriculture in the Heart of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Downtown Saskatoon’s 1.5 acre Food Bank Garden Patch.

Urban agriculture is a new way for the Food banks to supply nutritious emergency food while addressing underlying causes of hunger and food insecurity.

By Alison Robertson
Director of Community Development,
Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre
July 26, 2012

If you are heading through downtown Saskatoon you will happen upon a somewhat unfamiliar sight – businesses owners, police officers, librarians, newcomers to Canada, and perhaps even the City’s mayor – all working together on a 1.5 garden parcel of once vacant land, now transformed into a beautiful, bountiful garden.

These community members from all walks of life have joined forces to grow food for hungry families in Saskatoon.

The Garden Patch is an innovative partnership between the City of Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre. The City of Saskatoon has adopted a “Garden Site Policy” that allows community organizations to grow food on any vacant municipal land.

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July 27, 2012   1 Comment

How to install a front yard vegetable garden

Van Malone has installed a vegetable garden in front of his home on a corner lot in the upscale Atlanta suburban city of Dunwoody, which is urban agriculture-friendly.

Check with local zoning ordinances and keep it pretty to please the neighbors

By Tom Oder
Mother Nature Network
May 25 2012


Malone has made his garden neighborhood-friendly in a number of ways:

Giving his neighbors an open invitation to pick what they want when they want.
Leaving a dull knife near the street so neighbors can cut their own produce.
Using the garden as a teaching tool to help neighborhood children learn how to grow healthy food.
Donating food from the garden to a local food pantry.

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July 27, 2012   Comments Off on How to install a front yard vegetable garden

El Poblano Farm in New York City grows specialty Mexican herbs and vegetables

One acre farm in Staten Island expands

From their Kickstarter page:

Have you ever experienced the incredible flavor of epazote? If you have, you know that it’s an incredible symbiosis of crisp flavors like mint, cilantro, and garlic all wrapped in one delicious leaf, and its the perfect addition to any green mixture, salad, or Mexican dish. Also, did you know that Papalo is traditionally used in Guacamole instead of cilantro? It’s also used in tacos and the traditional mexican sandwich, Cemitas. Skies the limit to the incredible culinary flavors that you can whip up from the traditional Mexican herbs and amazing variety of vegetables available at El Poblano Farm in New York City

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July 26, 2012   Comments Off on El Poblano Farm in New York City grows specialty Mexican herbs and vegetables

ARTFARMS Buffalo invites recognized artists to design grow sculptures for the East Side urban farms

Urban vacancy in the East Side of Buffalo is widespread. With over 20% of its land empty, it feeds negative perceptions that discourage the city’s redevelopment.

From their website:

In Buffalo’s East Side, urban agriculture is transforming once residential, abandoned land into small farms serving local groups. And although vacant land is abundant, it is often contaminated. Historically farmers used above ground grow structures to overcome poor soil conditions – an approach which could provide a solution to the contamination problem.

ARTFARMS invites recognized artists to design grow sculptures for the East Side urban farms. Made from lightweight materials, their ghost-like appearance highlights the neighborhood’s exodus of homes, people and activity.

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July 26, 2012   Comments Off on ARTFARMS Buffalo invites recognized artists to design grow sculptures for the East Side urban farms

Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York

Willie Morgan has been gardening in the city since 1969 and still tends crops at age 73

By Robin Shulman
Publisher: Crown
July 10 2012
352 pages
Robin Shulman is a writer and reporter whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, the Guardian, and many other publications. She lives in New York City.

New York is not a city for growing and manufacturing food. It’s a money and real estate city, with less naked earth and industry than high-rise glass and concrete. Yet in this intimate, visceral, and beautifully written book, Robin Shulman introduces the people of New York City – both past and present – who do grow vegetables, butcher meat, fish local waters, cut and refine sugar, keep bees for honey, brew beer, and make wine. In the most heavily built urban environment in the country, she shows an organic city full of intrepid and eccentric people who want to make things grow. What’s more, Shulman artfully places today’s urban food production in the context of hundreds of years of history, and traces how we got to where we are.

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July 25, 2012   Comments Off on Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York

Ecopia Farms serves up microgreens

Ko Nishimura is the founder of Ecopia, a state of the art indoor farm that uses LED lighting and organic soil for their specialty produce for chefs, in Campbell, Calif. Photo By Megan Farmer.

Ecopia grows more than 70 produce items, with microgreens making up 60 percent of the business.

By Carolyn Jung
San Francisco Chronicle
July 24, 2012


Inside an old, secluded warehouse in Campbell, away from prying eyes, millions of plants flourish in soil containers under the eerie glow of LED lights.

But it’s not what you think.

No illegal substance is cultivated here. Only bronze fennel, red-veined sorrel, Russian kale, Persian cress and other gourmet edibles in miniature form, grown to exact specifications for the Bay Area’s most discriminating chefs, such as Michael Mina and Charles Phan.

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July 25, 2012   Comments Off on Ecopia Farms serves up microgreens